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Newhouse Leads 112 Members Calling for Agricultural Biotechnology to Remain a Top Priority in China Talks

October 28, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) led a letter joined by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and 107 other U.S. House members to President Obama urging the administration to maintain agricultural biotechnology as a top priority as the U.S. Trade Representative engages with the People’s Republic of China in a series of trade meetings, including the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in November. 

The Members wrote: “Over the past three years, your administration has successfully secured commitments from Chinese officials to pursue a more normalized trading relationship and improve the approval process for products of agricultural biotechnology. Despite this very promising engagement, we continue to see a disconnect between Chinese commitments and action. For instance, in February, three out of 11 biotech products were approved, but China has issued no approvals since that time. The backlog continues to grow.  Currently there are a total of 25 biotech products in the regulatory queue in China, including eight in the final stage.  Four of these products have been under review since mid-2011.  

“We recognize that regulatory reform in China is complex and will require time. However, we are alarmed that recent amendments to China’s biotech regulatory regime effectively provide less clarity and specificity around the approval process, rather than more transparency and accountability. This development appears to run counter to commitments made to the United States, and raises serious questions regarding China's intention to follow through on the spirit of the agreements made in September 2015 and June 2016.”

The Members continued in the letter: “The U.S. agricultural value chain is committed to working with the United States and Chinese governments to support these efforts. Delayed approvals that limit access to innovative products and encumber trade only serve to undermine the progress made to date and significantly dampens innovation and trade affecting both the U.S. and Chinese economies.”

Full text of the letter can be found below and here.

 

October 28, 2016

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President,

We appreciate your administration’s continued efforts to engage the People’s Republic of China – a vital U.S. trading partner – on the topic of agricultural innovation and trade.  Though some progress has been made, we request that agricultural biotechnology remain a top priority for the United States as we engage the Chinese through a series of meetings this fall, including the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in November. 

Over the past three years, your administration has successfully secured commitments from Chinese officials to pursue a more normalized trading relationship and improve the approval process for products of agricultural biotechnology. Despite this very promising engagement, we continue to see a disconnect between Chinese commitments and action.  For instance, in February, three out of 11 biotech products were approved, but China has issued no approvals since that time. The backlog continues to grow.  Currently there are a total of 25 biotech products in the regulatory queue in China, including eight in the final stage.  Four of these products have been under review since mid-2011.  

We recognize that regulatory reform in China is complex and will require time.  However, we are alarmed that recent amendments to China’s biotech regulatory regime effectively provide less clarity and specificity around the approval process, rather than more transparency and accountability. This development appears to run counter to commitments made to the United States, and raises serious questions regarding China's intention to follow through on the spirit of the agreements made in September 2015 and June 2016.

China continues to be a very significant trading partner for U.S. agriculture.  In 2015 China purchased $20.3 billion worth of American agricultural products, roughly $10.8 billion, or 54%, of which were biotech-derived plant products. Paving a path forward through continued high-level engagement is essential to facilitate a more positive trade environment and relationship, including for products of agricultural biotechnology.  The U.S. agricultural value chain is committed to working with the United States and Chinese governments to support these efforts.  Delayed approvals that limit access to innovative products and encumber trade only serve to undermine the progress made to date and significantly dampens innovation and trade affecting both the U.S. and Chinese economies. 

As your team engages their Chinese counterparts in preparation for the JCCT, we ask that you place added focus on transitioning China’s commitments into positive action. Thank you again for your efforts on behalf of U.S. agriculture and trade.

Sincerely,

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)

Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)

Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA)

Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)

Rep. Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA)

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)

Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE)

Rep. Dan Benishek, M.D. (R-MI)

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA)

Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA)

Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)

Rep. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN)

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA)

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO)

Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN)

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL)

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)

Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)

Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX)

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)

Rep. Scott DesJarlais, M.D. (R-TN)

Rep. Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. (R-NY)

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN)

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX)

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN)

Rep. John C. Fleming, M.D. (R-LA)

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)

Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

Rep. Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (R-AZ)

Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)

Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA)

Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)

Rep. French Hill (R-AR)

Rep. George Holding (R-NC)

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NY)

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, CPA (R-KS)

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)

Rep. Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI)

Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)

Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID)

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)

Rep. Robert E. Latta (R-OH)

Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA)

Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)

Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA)

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA)

Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)

Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI)

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA)

Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN)

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)

Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH)

Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI)

Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN)

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN)

Rep. Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL)

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)

Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC)

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR)

Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)

Rep. David Scott (D-GA)

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI)

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)

Rep. Kyrsten Simena (D-AZ)

Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO)

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)

Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA)

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO)

Rep. Dave Trott (R-MI)

Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-OH)

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX)

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)

Rep. Timothy J. Walz (D-MN)

Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS)

Rep. Ted S. Yoho, DVM (R-FL)

Rep. David Young (R-IA)

Rep. Todd Young (R-IN)

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT)